“A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted former Kansas state Rep. Michael Capps on 19 counts alleging that he tried to defraud federal, state and county government organizations out of more than $450,000 in coronavirus relief funding,” the AP reports.
Political Wire members get exclusive analysis, new features and no ads. Join today!
Sarah Chayes: “Corruption in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan wasn’t just a matter of constant street-level shakedowns. It was a system. No cops or customs agents got to put all their illicit gains in their own pockets. Some of that money flowed upward, in trickles that joined to form a mighty river of cash.”
“Two surveys conducted in 2010 estimated the total amount paid in bribes each year in Afghanistan at between $2 billion and $5 billion—an amount equal to at least 13 percent of the country’s GDP. In return for the kickbacks, officials at the top sent protection back down the line.”
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) told WLS-TV that he is going to sue the state of Illinois in an attempt to run for office again.
Mew Mexico State Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton (D) stepped down as House majority leader, and from her seat, amid a federal investigation into possible fraud, racketeering, illegal kickbacks and money laundering, Axios reports.
“A former Chicago bank executive was convicted on Tuesday of financial crimes related to his facilitation of millions of dollars in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort, all in an effort to obtain a coveted position in the Trump administration,” the New York Times reports.
NBC News: “In a scheme that stretched from July 2016 to January 2017, Stephen Calk worked to approve multiple high-risk loans for Manafort, who urgently needed them to avoid foreclosure on several properties.”
“Two high-ranking Trump political appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency engaged in fraudulent payroll activities — including payments to employees after they were fired and to one of the officials when he was absent from work — that cost the agency more than $130,000,” the Associated Press reports.
“Jacob Zuma, the former president of South Africa, was taken to prison on Wednesday to begin serving a 15-month sentence, capping a stunning downfall for a once-lauded freedom fighter who battled the apartheid regime alongside Nelson Mandela,” the New York Times reports.
“Under Mr. Zuma, who was forced to step down, the extent of crony corruption within the governing African National Congress Party became clear, turning a once heralded liberation movement into a vehicle of self-enrichment for many officials. The corruption led to the gutting of the nation’s tax agency, sweetheart business contracts and rivals gunned down in a scramble for wealth and power.”
“Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed appears to be under federal investigation for allegedly using campaign funds to make personal purchases of jewelry, resort travel, lingerie and furniture,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Agricultural company Archer-Daniels-Midland sold a grain storage plant worth millions for just $250,000 to Sonny Perdue weeks after President Donald Trump selected him to be agriculture secretary, the Washington Post reports.
“The timing of the sale just as Perdue was about to become the most powerful man in U.S. agriculture raises legal and ethics concerns, from the narrow question of whether the secretary followed federal financial disclosure requirements to whether the transaction could have been an attempt to influence an incoming government official, in violation of bribery statutes, ethics lawyers say.”
Associated Press: “A Chicago bank owner traded $16 million in loans to ex-President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager in a bid for a prestigious position in Trump’s administration, a prosecutor told jurors in an opening statement Wednesday before a defense attorney assured them that the banker committed no crimes.”
“Prosecutors recalled election night 2016, saying that Stephen Calk, the former chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank, messaged Manafort after it became clear Trump had won the election to promise that a $9.5 million real estate construction loan that had seemed stalled, if not dead, would be ‘wrapped up the next day.’”
“After one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s most trusted aides and closest friends, Joseph Percoco, was convicted of soliciting and accepting more than $300,000 in bribes from executives with business before the state, the governor quickly distanced himself,” the New York Times reports.
“Privately, however, members of the governor’s inner circle — including one of his sisters — have for years been quietly raising money for Mr. Percoco, according to interviews and newly obtained emails.”
Associated Press: “An energy company that gave the money in an alleged $60 million bribery scheme in Ohio and a man accused of spending a large chunk of it are now arguing in separate proceedings that their actions were legal.”
Donald Trump met with late Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) in 2008 and offered him “money in Palm Beach” if he dropped his investigation into the Spygate scandal, in which the New England Patriots were disciplined by the NFL for filming a rival team’s coaching signals, ESPN reports.
However, a Trump spokesman said the report “is completely false.”
A spokesman for the Patriots also denied the allegations.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Reed posted to Twitter a link to an online betting site that put him as the odds-on favorite to win Atlanta’s top job again now that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, his former protege, decided not to stand for a second term.”
Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) will be returned to federal prison after federal authorities denied him home confinement, the AP reports.
Sources tell Yeshiva World that former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D) has been released from prison and is on his way home.
He was released five years early from a six year sentence.
The U.K.’s Electoral Commission announced an investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had Conservative Party donors “secretly pay” for a renovation of his apartment at No. 11 Downing Street, the Times of London reports.
Axios: “It’s unprecedented for a sitting prime minister to face this kind of investigation, which could result in a fine of up to $20,000 and a referral to police if the violations are serious.”
“Federal authorities are looking into whether a 2018 trip to the Bahamas involving Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz and several young women was part of an orchestrated effort to illegally influence Gaetz in the area of medical marijuana,” CNN reports.
“Prosecutors with the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section are examining whether Gaetz took gifts, including travel and paid escorts, in exchange for political favors.”